Help make the holidays happy for homeless pets

The holidays are a time of family, friends, gift-giving and festivities. Good will towards others and affirmations of the ties that bind us as human beings are an inherent part of the rituals and celebrations that characterize the season, and, commercialism aside, we are reminded in so many ways, some truly inspirational and some merely cheesy, that this is a special time of year.

The Best Friends family includes everyone who shares our vision that kindness to animals really does create a better world for all of us. Our pets, who bring so much joy to our lives all year long, are an integral part of our lives and our enjoyment of the holidays.

Here at the Best Friends, a really wonderful tradition was established in the earliest days of the Sanctuary that involves staff and volunteers playing Santa for Sanctuary animals and distributing the treats and toys that our members send faithfully every year to animals in every department. Oblivious of the occasion but always up for a party, the animals scarf up the treats and relish the influx of new chewies, squeakies, catnip mice, and peanut butter–stuffed Kongs and help make the day for all of us.

The holidays are also a time to extend ourselves to those who are less fortunate than we are, and many charities receive the bulk of their support at this time of year. For animal lovers, there is one category of friends who are most in need – shelter pets who may or may not make it through the holidays alive. However, there are things we can do to help save as many of those wonderful animals as possible, beginning with visiting a city shelter or local rescue organization and bringing a new best friend home for the holidays.

Now, not everyone can adopt another pet, and it is likely, if you are reading this blog, that you already have a houseful of furry friends, but there is a good chance that many of you can find room in your home and your heart for one more, but even if you can't adopt, there are additional things you can do to help.

You may know someone who intends to acquire a pet for Christmas. If you do, be sure to encourage them to adopt rather than buy a pet, and you can help them locate the perfect match at your local shelter, rescue or via petfinder.

Are you adept at social media? Why not help promote local shelter adoptions via Facebook, Twitter or other social-networking applications. It may be as simple as visiting a shelter’s page and “liking” a particular pet, or contacting a local rescue and offering your networking services for some of the animals in their care.

How about fostering a pet for a shelter or rescue? You may not be in a position to make a long-term commitment to a pet, but yours might be a perfect foster home – a bridge between homelessness and a new permanent loving home for a dog, cat, bunny or bird who would otherwise be out of time and out of luck at the shelter.

You can also become a volunteer to help a local rescue or shelter save more lives. And, whether that means grooming pets to look their best for the adopting public, scooping trays and cleaning kennels, or helping stuff envelopes for an organization’s newsletter, it all helps in saving lives.

And of course, there is the ongoing need for charitable funding to enable animal organizations to save more lives and do more for the animals in general. Your donations to Best Friends are valued and appreciated. They enable us to do what we do. But I also want to encourage you to give locally. Best Friends has over 1,000 No More Homeless Pets Network partners across the country who share our commitment to ending the needless killing of shelter pets in this country. You can search for a Network partner near you. You can also support the work of Best Friends with a holiday gift.

Happy holidays from all the animals and staff at Best Friends to each and every one of you, and may you enjoy all the blessings of the season.


Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society